What would you think if I told you that because you live in Essex, the Government doesn’t think you are worth as much as someone who lives in London? You’d be outraged. Unfortunately, that’s not too far from the truth.
If you live in Essex, the funding which councils get to run services for you adds up to £193 per person per year.
That pays for roads, schools, social care, transport, parks, libraries and more. All the things people and communities depend on and enjoy.
If you live in London, the average funding leaps up to £563 per person, more than triple what an Essex resident receives.
In Essex, with our partners from the County Councils Network, we are launching a campaign and will be lobbying our MPs, along with ministers, for a #FairDeal4Essex
It’s being supported by other counties who find themselves and their residents in a similar position.
With news today that the UK deficit is at an all-time low, the Chancellor should have more money available for local authorities. So we want a fair deal so we can achieve our Vision for the County, which is what we want our county to become for residents and businesses over the next 20 years.
I wrote to the Chancellor this week ahead of the November 22 Autumn Statement, setting out the key issues which must be addressed to ensure economic stability and individual wellbeing.
We want to enable inclusive economic growth, help people get the best start in life and age well, and help create great places to grow up, live and work.
We also want to change how we work at the council so we can deliver the best value for money for your council tax.
But the future of funding for council services after 2020 is unclear.
County councils were due to receive 100% of locally-raised business rates from 2019 – this is now in doubt after the Local Government Finance Bill was dropped from the Government’s agenda.
This lack of clarity – essential for long term planning - sits against a back drop of increasing need for social care services due to Essex’s hyper aging population, pressures within children’s services, the demand for more high quality and affordable housing and the delivery of infrastructure projects to unlock much needed economic growth and improve connectivity.
However, the Government has re-committed to a Fairer Funding Review, something we must help influence.
There is so much more we want to do and could do if Government gave Essex it’s fair share of national resources, and trusted and empowered us to make more decisions locally.
We want to drive prosperity for everyone in Essex and if the Government increased our funding to bring us in line with our far richer London neighbours, then we could achieve so much more.
It’s time for change, it’s time the Government gave Essex a fair deal.